May 13, 2017

Inside this issue:

  • 50/50 recruitment
  • Permanent Stand Bys for retained shortages
  • J and Z Relieving to finish by 30 June – update #1

50/50 recruitment

As members may be aware, Commissioner Baxter yesterday wrote to firefighters confirming his commitment to FRNSW’s 50/50 recruitment process. It is safe to assume his message was issued in response to an online petition that also emerged this week encouraging FBEU members to sign and cause a Special General Meeting to be called to discuss the 50/50 issue.

It is not possible to discern who started the petition, or if those named as signatories have in fact “signed” it, or even if they are all members. Unfortunately, whoever did start it used the Union’s website masthead and logo without our approval. To be clear, the petition is neither sanctioned nor supported by the State Committee. The Union’s officials support more women in our job.

It is relevant to note that the State Committee has never been asked to call such a meeting, and has therefore never said no to one. A general discussion where the facts were confirmed and the myths busted could be a very useful exercise. The State Committee will consider the concept on 25 May.

Permanent Stand Bys for retained shortages

Permanent members working 24 hour shifts who are sent to stand by for retained shortages are in fact performing an outduty, not a stand by, once the four hour mark is passed. Subclause 8.2.4.3 extends stand bys to eight hours, but only if the Stand By is performed to cover the absence of another employee who was rostered to work a 24 hour shift”. One zone this week argued that the 8 hour limit applied because retained members are available 24 hours per day. Not so. Retained firefighters are not rostered to work any shifts, let alone 24 hours shifts, and are not defined as employees under Clause 4 of the Permanent Award. Permanent members working 24s who stand by for more than four hours have therefore performed two outduties (subclause 8.2.4.2) and are entitled to two relieving allowances (8.2.4.1) for every shift they do so. 

J and Z Relieving to finish by 30 June – update #1

Further to SITREP 17, the Union has offered to discuss the possible continuation of a limited form of Z relieving for Leading Station Officers (only), however any other form of J and Z relieving should cease by 30 June. I say “should cease”, because it is possible that management will continue to use Z relievers after that date. If we find that to be occurring anywhere then we enforce the Award and ensure that any and all work performed on other than your own platoon is paid at overtime rates.

To quote from my letter to the Commissioner of 3 May (see SITREP 17), “the Union expects the Award to be strictly observed in this respect from 1 July and further, that employees who have been working as either J or Z relievers will be assigned to a single platoon and station by or before that date.” While my letter did not say this, we also expect this to occur in-area. Like all other relievers in the job, the J and Z Relievers now in the system might remain relievers after 30 June and they might not, but any member who is threatened with a transfer due to the termination of J and Z relieving should contact the Union immediately.

Leighton Drury
State Secretary

For a printable copy of this SITREP, please click here.